Sunday Postcard #25 11.4.21

Hello! I hope you’re doing ok. It’s been a funny old week hasn’t it? The last one of this stage of UK lockdown and the news being dominated by the death of Prince Philip. I can’t imagine what it must be like to lose your partner of more than 70 years. My thoughts are with the Queen and her family.

Closer to home, we have tried to make the most of our Easter holidays in spite of a mixed bag of weather. As I looked out of the curtains after midnight last night – it was snowing here in Manchester!! No sign of the white stuff this morning though. Here’s a little look back at our week…

Easter cake

We had such a lovely Easter weekend last week, the weather was kind to us and the eased restrictions meant that we were able to spend time with loved ones who we hadn’t seen for too long. To celebrate, my Mum made this yummy cake! It was delicious!

Easter Monday walk

Despite a forecast of snow and ice, we woke up to more stunning weather on Easter Monday and made the most of the sun with a walk around fields near our home. Little did we know, the snow and cold weather would still be heading our way…

Snowy treasure trail

Lymm Cross

Last summer, we went on a treasure trail around the centre of Manchester as an activity to get us out of the house amid the severe restrictions we were facing. During the recent months of lockdown I have long wished we could do another one, as there are several within easy reach of where we are in south west Manchester.

On Tuesday, despite the grey skies and the drop in temperature, we paid for and downloaded another treasure trail – this one for the nearby village of Lymm in Cheshire. It took us along paths we had never visited before and taught us a little about the history of the place. In spite of the snow and cold, it was a fun afternoon!

Slittern Brook

We were glad of the hot drink back at home though!!

If you fancy a go at a treasure trail yourself, you can find them here. (This is not an advert! We just enjoyed it and thought you might too).

Bridgewater Canal in Lymm

Latest project

This was supposed to be finished by Easter, but life and lack of room in my brain to figure things out have got in the way of creativity. Hopefully, she will be making an appearance soon!

Reacquainted with an old friend

Tatton Park

On Friday morning we headed into Cheshire to visit a place I haven’t been to in years – Tatton Park. Unfortunately we were too late to book to visit the gardens, but we did get the chance to wander around the deer park. It was lovely, in spite of sibling bickering and a passing snow shower!

The aviation geek amongst us was even able to watch the planes taking off from nearby Manchester Airport and passing overhead.

New garden delights

Cherry plum (Prunus)

One of the joys of seeing a new garden wake up for spring is the delight of watching new things appear. Just two weeks ago, this small tree was simply a tree with new red leaves, now it is covered in the most beautiful, perfect, white blossom! It’s definitely a keeper!

It’s been fun to be able to get out and potter about in the garden. I was also able to get my brand new lawnmower out for a spin and potted on a few seedlings. Fingers crossed the threat of frost passes soon so I can actually plant them out in the garden soon!

Second National Trust visit of the week!

Footpath from Dunham Massey to Little Bollington

So yesterday we managed to get into our favourite and nearest National Trust property- Dunham Massey. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t great and we were only able to get a parking entry for late in the afternoon. We managed a short walk in the park and then out towards the village of Little Bollington before the rain and sleet came!

Heading back into the park

We didn’t hang around for long once the sleet arrived – it looked set to stay (and it did). Never mind, it was a nice trip out to see some green space!

That’s all from me for this week, I hope the coming seven days are good to you. A couple of our household are particularly excited about the prospect of going clothes shopping next week before returning to school. I think my standards have dropped since Covid first started because I’m not bothered about clothes – it’s yarn shops I want to get into!!

Thanks for stopping by!

Lindsay x

Sunday/Monday Postcard #24 5.4.21

Hello there, I hope you’re doing ok. Didn’t get this ready in time to be a Sunday Postcard, so it’s an Easter Monday one instead.

I hope you have had a decent Easter weekend – we have had such lovely sunny weather in Manchester which meant we were able to have my brother and his wife over to see us in our back garden – the first time we had seen them since Christmas Day. It was the perfect day – lovely weather and lovely conversations. You couldn’t have topped it.

Here’s a little look back at the last couple of weeks in our world.

Spring walks

We’ve been able to pop out for a few walks lately, as the weather has been kind to us. Mostly dry and sometimes beautifully sunny. We headed back to the banks of the River Mersey for a walk and lovely takeaway hot chocolate from the Riverbank Café.

Internet safety model

Littlest came home from school with this kit to make. It was made by Google and involves you answering questions about internet safety and as you get them right – you are given assembly instructions. It was a very informative half an hour or so, and was amazed how much he knew already. A very good idea for young ones and old ones alike.

A new tree

When we last lived in the UK (and weren’t planning on leaving) we planted an apple tree in our back garden. I imagined the Little Postcards would be able to watch it grow as they grew. Of course we left that tree behind when we moved to Gibraltar, so I always intended on getting a tree for our new garden.

I took a trip to the garden centre while the boys were at school for something else and spotted this tree, it was an impulse buy and I had a slight panic that it wouldn’t fit in the car – with a bit of jiggery-pokery I got it in!

Here it is in its new home!

Happy post

I got some super happy post a fortnight ago, I have long wanted one of Cathy from Dear Emma’s fabric pots with little houses on. They are so cute! So I spent some of my birthday money on one. Isn’t it beautiful?

I also took delivery of this inspiring and very well written book by Sarah Corbett – ‘How to be a Craftivist’. I have long watched the Craftivist Collective at work on Instagram and wanted to know more about what they do. I can highly recommend it.

A new amigurumi person…

I’ve been taking inspiration from my own garden for my latest amigurumi make. Can you tell what I’ve been making?!

Introducing Dave, the King of the Daffodils!

He’s looking a bit lonely though isn’t he? I think he needs a friend… watch this space!

Heading out of lockdown

Football training last week

It’s been lovely for the past week to begin doing some more ‘adventurous’ things. Now we are on the way out of lockdown (hopefully) Littlest has been able to join a local football team for training – which is brilliant after so long trapped in our own home and garden.

I’ve also been able to have a couple of friends over for coffee (and a glass of wine) in our garden – what bliss after so long apart!

Podcast news

Hayley from Dotcraftstudio

Last Friday on Making Stitches I published the latest episode featuring Hayley from Dotcraftstudio who spoke about her experience on Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas and how her craft of amigurumi faux animal heads has developed over time.

You can listen by searching for Making Stitches on your favourite podcast app or via this link.

That’s all I’ve got for you for this latest Postcard, I often find it hard to find things to include as life isn’t quite as picturesque as it once was for us when we lived overlooking the Bay of Gibraltar! However, inspite of the lack of sea views, life has been very good to us and we have been blessed with the kindness of friends and family who more than make up for any sea views!

Until next time, I hope life treats you kindly. Thanks for stopping by!

Lindsay x

Sunday Postcard #23 21.3.21

Happy UK Census Day! I’m feeling rather historic, I do like family history and feel quite excited that at some point in the future one of my descendants or distant relatives may read what I put in our census return today.

I wish I had something exciting to tell you about, but alas lockdown life has a rather predictable plod to it and life has been rather samey of late. One big improvement has been the fact the Litle Postcards have been back in school for two weeks and my word, that frees up an awful lot of time to get some long-awaited jobs done!

In the last two weeks I have managed to unpack a few more boxes since our move and we now have another room which is totally box free. There’s still a good way to go with other rooms though, but that depends on being able to buy furniture to put the box contents into!

Spring has sprung

There’s no doubt about it, we have past the spring equinox and nature is waking up. I loved watching the brand new episode of Gardener’s World this week – that can only signal good things. I have been admiring this Crocus strewn lawn while out and about for the past few weeks – it’s so cheerful.

A new crochet project

I treated myself to some new yarn and am loving working on a new project. It’s something I’ve been thinking about making for years and finally I thought, ‘what am I waiting for?’ So just bit the bullet and ordered the yarn.

It’s going to be a granny stripe cardigan which appeared in Simply Crochet a while ago. Unfortunately I left it so long to make it that some of the shades of yarn recommended in the pattern have been discontinued so I’ve had to swap them out for alternatives! It was designed by the super talented Fran Morgan.

In other crochet news I made an Emmeline Pankhurst especially for International Women’s Day on 8th March! The pattern for Emmeline comes from the Crochet Iconic Women book by Carla Mitrani. She was my first make, but I’m sure some more will appear before long!

Robin spotted!

I’m loving being able to enjoy the bird visitors to our back garden. Since we first put food out for them in January, we have had starlings, wood pigeons, sparrows, blue tits and this rather cheerful robin. It feels like such a privilege to have so many little visitors over.

Signs of spring

A couple of weeks ago we had a lovely sunny Sunday walk over some open ground near our home. The last time we made the trip, there was snow on the ground and it looked so different.

Another sign of spring is that my sweet pea seedlings are up! I’m itching to plant them out but can’t take the risk yet in case we have another frost.

Podcast news

This week, Making Stitches made a reappearance with a new series (it’s amazing what you can achieve when your children are in school!!). The first episode of the new series features my chat with Louise Armitage aka Gini, from Gini’s Dorset Buttons. Gini won the Handmade Decoration trophy in last year’s Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas and spoke to me about how she first discovered the craft of Dorset Button-making as well as her TV experience.

You can hear the episode by following this link.

Gini’s winning decoration and her trophy

That’s all for this postcard, thanks for stopping by. I hope you have a good week ahead and that all is well with you.

Lindsay x

Introducing: Flora my crochet gardening alter-ego

Please excuse this flight of fancy, it may be lockdown isolation which is getting to me, or perhaps the home-schooling but my mind has wandered off into a fantasy land where my alter-ego Flora lives.

Flora lives for her plants and adores her garden…

She has all the gear (and no idea) and can’t wait for the spring flowers to fully appear once the snow and frosts have passed. Flora is like a tightly coiled spring ready to burst into action once winter loosens its grip on her new garden.

After years spent living abroad without a proper garden to call her own and all that time spent watching Gardeners World from afar and dreaming of having a huge garden like Monty’s she now finds herself living in the suburbs with a rather smaller plot than ‘Long Meadow’ but it’s hers nonetheless.

What will this year have in store for her as she sees shoots of new life appear in her new plot?

Watch this space…

Sunday Postcard #001 2.8.20

Hello there and happy Sunday!

You may have spotted that this isn’t a Sunday Sevens post. I decided that after 230 weeks of Sunday Sevens, it was time for a change. The Sunday Sevens phenomenon was first created by sewing blogger Natalie, at Threads and Bobbins. Her idea was for bloggers to share seven photos from the previous seven days in a series of posts which were markedly different from their usual crafty or lifestyle posts.

Lately, because of the move back to the UK, I have had weeks without Sunday Sevens, Sunday Sevens with far more than seven photos and some with far fewer. Bearing in mind I have just moved countries with my family away from the Gibraltar named in my blog title, I thought that perhaps I should focus more on the ‘Postcard’ part instead.

So this will be my new weekly (when I can/when I remember) post. I can’t guarantee how long or picturesque they will be going forward, but I will try to share a bit of beauty each week.

So here is my first Sunday Postcard offering:

A postcard from Gibraltar

I have to admit it feels very strange writing blog posts from England without the feeling that we will soon be getting back on a plane and heading home to Gib. I’m sure in coming months, especially when the weather takes a turn for the worst, I will really miss Gibraltar, the mild (and sometimes very wet) winters, the fact I spent more time each year in flip flops than in boots, our beautiful views and of course our lovely friends. But, at the moment I’m really enjoying our new life here in Manchester. (The above photo is of a Gibraltar postcard I came across when I was packing up to move).

Grey skies

One of the overriding questions I’ve been asked since our move from Gibraltar is ‘Are you missing the sunshine?’ The answer is ‘no, not really’. We certainly don’t have blue skies everyday up here in the north west of England, but I’m really enjoying the wide open spaces, the greenery and having special people I’ve been far away from for almost 2 decades living round the corner.

Hob-nobbing with the stars

Earlier this week, before the new tighter Covid restrictions came into force, we had a visit from some very good friends. We took them to Media City to show them the Blue Peter Garden and where many of their favorite TV shows are filmed.

Although many people were wearing masks (including us), and there was a slightly subdued atmosphere there, you couldn’t get away from the fact it’s a rather exciting place. We even spotted a few familiar faces from the world of showbiz as we had our lunch out in the open air.

Can you spot those green houses and jazzy garden sheds in the photo above? Those could be booked out for lunch! You could have your own bubble in a glass bubble! What a fab idea.

Below is the closest I can get to a photo of open water for you these days… it’s the Manchester Ship Canal!!

A woodland walk

On Thursday we had a really pleasant walk back to a favorite place of mine, Marbury Country Park in Cheshire. There’s a gorgeous woodland walk via Marbury Mere and the nearby canal as well as wide open spaces for picnics. Not to mention lots of gorgeous greenery.

An old friend

A long time ago, long before our move out to Gibraltar, I was given this rose called Wee Cracker. It lived in a pot and followed us on various house moves in the north of England until we headed off to Gib. Since then it has lived in my parents’ back garden where my Mum has lovingly nurtured it until the day I could have it back. It was waiting in the back garden of our rental home when we arrived three weeks ago, and here it is looking lovely – the first bud opened yesterday.

That’s all for this week, I’ll leave you with this collection of pictures from last month – a very busy one for us! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

Sunday Sevens #197 21.7.19

Hello there! I hope you’ve had a good week! Here’s this week’s Sunday Sevens, seven pictures from the last seven days….

Beautiful building

I had a meeting in this beautiful old building on Monday. I have walked past it countless times on my wanders around Gibraltar but never set foot inside before. Wow, what a stunning staircase!

Sunshine through the green!

I drove past this banana (I think) leaf on Tuesday and the sunlight shining through it caught my eye. When I walked past it later, I had to take a photo!

Marbella

We had a midweek trip to Marbella. The old town is just so pretty.

The breakfast of champions

We went out for breakfast on Thursday morning – what a treat! Never had new potatoes with my eggs Benedict before… it was delicious though!

Levanter galore!

It was a rather grey but humid day on Friday. We went to the beach… it was rather quiet! (I wonder why?!) The Little Postcards enjoyed themselves in spite of the weather.

Beautiful bougainvillea

I walk past this beautiful bougainvillea every so often and it almost all year round looks fab. We’ve had mixed results when we’ve tried to grow it – this one gets a gold star!

And that’s all from me for this week. I hope it’s been a good one for you.

Sunday Sevens was first created by Natalie from Threads and Bobbins.

Sunday Sevens #150 19.8.18

So, here we are at my 150th Sunday Sevens! Feels like a bit of a milestone… so far I’ve managed to publish them all on time (ie on Sunday – even if they only made it moments before the strike of 12!). I hope I’m not tempting fate by saying that!!! So, here’s number 150:

Evening beach walk

Last Sunday night I’d had enough. I felt rather homesick for England. I get that way sometimes after a trip back home. I was tired, grumpy, and thoroughly fed up.

Eldest clearly picked up on my mood and suggested we go for a drive. Normally I’d say no, but I put my lethargy out of my mind and picked up the car keys. I’m so glad I did. We left the youngest 2 with Mr Postcard and drove to the East side for a walk on Eastern beach.

It was really rather lovely and brightened my mood no end. Well done Eldest, and thank you 😊.

Hunting for shade

On Monday we had a few errands to run in town and ended up seeking a bit of sanctuary in Commonwealth Park. It was a beautiful, calm oasis and coincidentally we bumped into a few friends from the boys’ schools, so it was a great detour.

Protests

On Wednesday I took a drive into Spain with the boys. It was only as we crossed the border that I noticed the large protest which was going on on the Spanish side. It was industrial action to do with the Spanish police forces and had a huge impact on the queue of motorists heading into Gib. The queue of traffic waiting to cross into Gibraltar stretched almost all the way to Campamento (about 4 km).

I had been planning a strategic dash into the shop in question and then to head home straight away, but we went for lunch instead before shopping and the queue was much shorted on our return, just 50 minutes wait…

Thursday

We had a lovely day at the beach on Thursday, this was the view as we were packing up to go home, with a police speed boat whizzing last.

Patio problems

Our poor patio’s not looking too great at the minute. We live next to a long, and I mean long, building project (as is a common occurrence in Gibraltar) and our poor plants are covered in dust, masonry paint and even cement. These blooms are the best bits.

Cardboard boat race

The annual charity cardboard boat race took place in Gibraltar yesterday. The event has really grown over the years, from maybe 8 boats the first time we watched it to a junior race, and two heats and a final for the adults yesterday. Some of the creations were amazing to see. Such a lovely community event.

That’s it for this week, thanks for stopping by to read number 150! I’m linking, as always, with Natalie from Threads and Bobbins for this weekly blog series.

Sunday Sevens #145 15.7.18

That week went fast! First week of the school holidays over already, and we got through unscathed! It’s been a week of sporting activities for the children and lazy beach trips, and a fair bit of eating… the diet starts tomorrow 😉

Here’s this week’s Sunday Sevens …

Things didn’t go to plan

Last Sunday, we did something we don’t normally do, we took a drive out into Spain to go for lunch. Unfortunately our trip got slightly scuppered by long tailbacks on the motorway very soon after joining it. We took the executive decision to cut our trip short, not fancying spending longer than necessary in a hot car with children in the back. Fortunately for us, the next motorway exit was in sight, so we turned round and came back to Gibraltar for lunch. If we hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t have been able to gorge myself on this lovely chocolatey dessert….

Getting nowhere fast

More traffic problems happened on Monday, this time in Gibraltar. After almost 9 years living here you would have thought by now I’d learn to avoid the roads around the airport when there are planes due to land! (For those unfamiliar with Gibraltar: the main road to the border with Spain cuts across the airport runway, so when a plane’s due to land or takeoff, that road has to be closed and it has an impact on traffic nearby bringing it to a standstill).

A summer stroll

Bearing in mind my recent traffic problems, I opted for walking for much of the rest of the week! You certainly get to see and experience a lot more, even if you are a bit sweaty when you get to your destination!

Got enough toppings on that?!

So, at the end of that walk (above) there was this lovely pizza waiting for my lunch! It was super tasty but I had to opt for a knife and fork to eat it with all those toppings!!

Stargazing

I’m rather pleased with my lillies from last year, I think they’re call stargazer lillies. They have come back again, and flowered this week and are even better than last year!

School holiday sports programme

We are very lucky here in Gibraltar to have a comprehensive summer sports and leisure programme set up for school children during the summer holidays. There are all sorts of things from summer training for different sports, art and design classes and even history walks around the town. It gives the 8 week-long summer holiday a bit of structure and in many cases is free, or requires a small fee to be paid.

Sanctuary

One of the few benefits of visiting the beach on a windy day, is that the chiringuito was empty! We popped to the beach at Sandy Bay on Friday morning not realising quite how windy it was going to be. After half an hour of being sand blasted, we headed to the beach bar/cafe for refuge and coffee. Normally packed out with beach goers seeking shade and refreshment, we almost had the place to ourselves!we’ve enjoyed a couple of beach days this week, it would be rude not to seeing as we have so many beaches nearby! (You can read all about Gibraltar’s beaches here.)

Thanks for stopping by to read my Sunday Sevens, I’ve noticed I have a few new people following my blog lately, thank you for that! I’m linking with Natalie from Threads and Bobbins for this weekly blog series, and I’ll be back again next week!

Sunday Sevens #127 18.3.18

Blimey we had a wild night of weather last night. I know there’s a mini-beast from the East hitting the British Isles at the minute, but we also had tales and heavy rain overnight. Gusts in the Port of Gibraltar reached 100km per hour overnight and our poor balcony took a bit of a battering as we faced much of the wind head-on.

Anyway, weather aside, I hope this edition of Sunday Sevens finds you well and that you’ve had a good week.

Mother’s Day

Last Sunday was of course Mother’s Day. I was very lucky and was given this beautiful bouquet of roses by the Little Postcards along with a box of chocolates (they know me well). I was a very kind Mummy and shared them (as much for my benefit as their’s though – my figure is looking decidedly rounded these days…).

A blessing of unicorns

Way back last summer when I set off on my Summer Craft Challenge, the first thing I made was Europa the Unicorn. She came as a kit with Simply Crochet Magazine issue 54 and was designed by Ilaria Caliri. Europa came with us on all of our European adventures last summer (some of which I have still to tell you about when I get the chance!).

Anyway, back then I was asked by a couple of friends to make them a unicorn. That number of requests grew to four and I thought I had better pull my finger out and get on with it, so a unicorn production line began. And here they are in all their rainbow glory along with Europa – the girl who started it all (with the golden horn).

I do enjoy making amigurumi creatures but the counting and careful noting of rows and increases / decreases means that I need to concentrate – something I’m no good at in a house full of boys! So at last, only 7 months after making the requests, my little blessing of unicorns (yes that’s what Google says the collective noun of unicorns is) are heading off to their new homes and this unicorn factory is closing.

Another WIP completed!

Work in progress number 6 of 2018 completed (if you include the unicorns a number 5). This ripple scarf was actually finished a while ago, but this week I blocked it to make the pointy edges sit nicely ready to give it to my Mum. It was a late Christmas present (I just didn’t get it done in time to post it to England in time for Christmas) and I was able to give it to her when she arrived in Gibraltar this week. It’s made using a Scheepjes Whirl in Red Velvet Sunrise. I’m very pleased to say she was very happy with it, even though it was a bit late.

Boat spotting

We get to see all sorts of different boats and ships coming past out window on a regular basis, but a couple of times this week we saw a small cruise ship park up (I know that’s not the correct terminology) outside our home and it looked like it was bunkering (taking on supplies). It was an unusual sight as normally a cruise ship would anchor in port. But we couldn’t see any passengers on board so we presumed it was perhaps a new ship on it’s sea trials. We found I interesting anyway!

Lunchtime treat

As I mentioned before, my parents arrived in Gibraltar this week and we went out for a sneaky lunch while the Little Postcards were at school. I’m salivating just looking at this photo, I could go another plate of fish and chips now!! It was utterly delicious and far nicer than the tin of soup I would normally, have for lunch on my own!

Coastal Crochet CAL update

I am bang up to date on the Seaside Stashbusting Blanket CAL organised by Eleanora at Coastal Crochet. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again, I’m really enjoying the slow gentle nature of this crochet along. Just four rows are released each week and that’s a rate I can keep up with! I have a feeling I may be making a colour change soon though and give the aqua blues a rest for a while…

Stormy Saturday

Blimey we had a heck of a storm yesterday. This winter seems to have brought us more than our usual number of storms here in Gibraltar – I know you may think we have got off lightly as we didn’t have the snow and ice that many have suffered further north but we have had an awful lot of wind and rain! This is what our balcony looked like first thing this morning. Our poor pots have seen better days – they seem to spend more time on their sides these days!

Thanks for popping over to see what I’ve been up to this week. I hope whatever you have in store next week, it’s a good one for you. I’m linking with Natalie from Threads & Bobbins for Sunday Sevens.

English garden appreciation 

Row of cottage gardens, Greater Manchester
 

Now I know I’m incredibly lucky to be able to live where I do. The weather is mostly very good, we’re by the sea and surrounded by great friends and a wonderful community. But you know that old chestnut about the grass being greener… I really do wonder what life would be like to live in a house and not an apartment and have a real garden not a balcony & patio.

Echinops
 

I know, I know, I’m very spoiled but I really miss having a garden (a green one full of grass etc). I’ve been seven years without one now and it’s only when you don’t have something anymore that you really appreciate what you’re missing.

Terraced house front garden in Caversham, Berkshire
 

When I return to England each summertime I see the gardens in the town I grew up in at their absolute best. Hanging baskets galore, neat lawns, climbers, roses and huge leafy deciduous trees.

A row of hanging baskets in Greater Manchester
 

During my summer break I took quite a few photos of flowers and shrubs in other folk’s gardens – I hope they didn’t mind!! While speaking to a good friend of mine when I was over, she pointed out the fact that I probably notice nicely planted pots and beds of traditional British bedding plants because they are a novelty to me. Perhaps they are, but it doesn’t make them any less special.

No matter how much or how little your patch of earth is, it doesn’t matter. Just look how glorious these hollyhocks look outside this cottage we drove past:

Cottage in Sonning, Berkshire
 

I just LOVE these fuchsias which were in a hanging basket in my Mum & Dad’s back garden. They looked so voluptuous and alive – I doubt very much they are looking as glorious now that we’re in November!!

I appreciate that all of the beautiful gardens and plants I have included in this most probably don’t look like this anymore now that Autumn is well and truly underway in the British Isles, but let’s just revel in that glorious colour a little bit longer should we?

 

Cottage garden in Southwold, Suffolk
 

Thatched Cottage near Ludham on the Norfolk Broads
 

Clematis
Hydrangea

Ah, that feels better! I just love gardens…

My Mum’s Agapanthus

 

 … thank you for allowing me to indulge in that glorious English summer one more time! 🙂